This easy pasta salad recipe has pasta tossed with fresh veggies, cheese, and a simple tangy dressing.

Serve it as a side for any gathering potluck or picnic, or serve it as a refreshing make-ahead meal on a warm day.

Easy Pasta Salad in a bowl

You’ll Be Making This Pasta Salad Recipe on Repeat Because…

  • It’s quick and easy to make with ingredients you have on hand.
  • Use whatever veggies you have, any shape of pasta, and even bottled dressing if you’d prefer.
  • Potluck perfect, this pasta salad recipe is best made ahead of time.
  • It’s a hearty side dish that everyone loves. It also makes a great easy dinner or workday lunch.
ingredients to make pasta salad including cucumber, dressing, olives, tomatoes, pasta, cheese, bell pepper, and onion

Basic Pasta Salad Ingredients

Pasta – Any medium pasta shape works. Favorites include rotini pasta (or tri-color rotini), bow ties (farfalle), fusilli, or penne. Pasta with nooks and crannies hold the dressing better.

Vegetables Cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers are a great combo for color and crunch, but any veggie goes.

Cheese – I love feta but swap it out for fresh mozzarella or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Flavors Boost the flavor with red onion, chopped olives, and feta cheese.

Dressing – A light vinaigrette brings all the flavors together in this pasta salad recipe. Use the DIY dressing recipe below or use a bottled vinaigrette, Italian or Greek dressing.

Ingredients for an easy pasta salad on a cutting board


Change it up and add in new textures and flavors. Almost anything goes in a cold pasta salad!

  • Add a scoop of pesto and kalamata olives a bold flavor.
  • Add chicken, shrimp, or bacon bits for some extra protein.
  • Sprinkle with fresh herbs before serving.

Pasta Salad Ratio

Once you know how much dressing to add to pasta salad, it’s easy to swap up the noodles or add-ins to your liking. This is the basic ratio for a pasta salad.

  • 1 pound of pasta
  • 5-6 cups of add-ins (veggies, meat, cheese)
  • 1 cup of dressing

How to Make Pasta Salad

  1. Cook pasta to al dente, drain, and rinse in cold water.
  2. Chop vegetables and place them in a large bowl.
  3. Toss vegetables and pasta with dressing (recipe below).
  4. Chill for 2 hours before serving.
Ingredients for an easy pasta salad in a white serving bowl

Tips for Perfect Pasta Salad

  • Cooking the pasta to al dente will keep it firmer as it soaks up the dressing.
  • Be generous with the dressing so the pasta can soak it up.
  • Allow time for the pasta salad to chill in the fridge, the flavor will be so much better!
  • Cut the add-ins fairly small so you get a bit of everything in every bite.
an an easy pasta salad in a white serving bowl with a serving spoon

Storing Pasta Salad

  • Make this simple summer salad a day ahead and keep it chilled until ready to serve!
  • Keep leftover pasta salad in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Pasta doesn’t thaw well, so freezing pasta salad isn’t advised. But since it’s so easy to make, simply start a fresh batch!

Pasta Salads for Summer

Did you make this Pasta Salad Recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

close up of an easy pasta salad in a white serving bowl with a serving spoon
4.99 from 198 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

Pasta Salad with fresh veggies and a tangy Italian dressing is perfect for a potluck or backyard BBQ!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 12 servings
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  • 1 pound rotini or any medium pasta shape
  • cup feta cheese crumbled, more or less to taste
  • 1 ½ cups English cucumber chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup bell pepper any color, chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced black olives optional
  • ¼ cup red onions finely diced, or sliced green onions
  • 1 cup Italian dressing or homemade dressing in the notes
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • In a large pot, boil pasta in salted water until al dente (firm) according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
  • Meanwhile, chop the cucumber, grape tomatoes, bell pepper, and red onions.
  • In a large bowl, combine your cooked and cooled pasta, prepared vegetables, Italian dressing, and fresh parsley. Toss well to coat.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and gently stir in feta cheese.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend and the pasta to soak in the dressing.


Any medium pasta can be used. Be sure to cook al dente (firm) as the dressing will soften the pasta further. Rinse under cold water once cooked to stop it from cooking.
Dress the salad generously as the pasta will soak up the dressing.
You can use any vegetables in this recipe (including leftover cooked/roasted vegetables). Additional favorites include zucchini, peas, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Optional but delicious additions include ham, bacon, salami, sundried tomatoes, pesto, artichokes, or finely diced broccoli.
To make a quick homemade pasta salad dressing, whisk the following:
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano and basil
  • 1 teaspoon each honey and Dijon mustard
  • While whisking, very slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil until incorporated. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
4.99 from 198 votes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 233 | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 896IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Easy Pasta Salad with crunchy veggies and writing
Easy Pasta Salad with tangy dressing and writing
ingredients in a bowl to make Easy Pasta Salad and plated dish with a title
close up of Easy Pasta Salad in a bowl with a spoon and title


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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Recipe Rating


  1. I love this recipe, The pasta salad with Pita Chips was a delightful mix of flavors and textures. The crunchy pita chips perfectly contrasted with the fresh and tangy salad.5 stars

  2. Hi Holly! Just wanted to let you know this recipe was SO good, although I didnt have feta but the Mediterranean dressing I used had feta in it! Just used the grated Parmesan, green pepper, cuke, romas, marinated artichoke hearts, black olives and onions I already had. Delightful! Thank you for the inspiration!5 stars

  3. Fast and easy recipe. I substituted grilled zucchini instead of cucumber and it worked really well :)

  4. I made this recipe (as well as the homemade dressing). The salad was a winner. However, the recipe said it would store in the frig for 4 days…it didn’t mention that the salad may be so dry that more dressing may be needed. Day 2 – the salad was super dry so I added more dressing but the recipe is a keeper.4 stars

  5. I really enjoyed this salad and have taken it to a family potluck and it was almost all eaten with it being my first time making it.4 stars

  6. The pasta salad with Pita Chips was a delightful mix of flavors and textures. The crunchy pita chips added the perfect contrast to the fresh and tangy salad.5 stars